E and I had a bit of down time earlier this week. One of our guilty pleasures is recording and watching DANCE MOMS (yes, I know, but we talk a lot about her ballet life as compared to those girls’ lives). It was the episode where an “older” dancer hurts her back so bad that she can’t continue dancing. What immediately came to mind was E’s injury last summer while in California (while I was home in Connecticut). What was hard for this mama was hearing her “little girl” crying and saying she can’t continue on with the week-long intensive. I could hear the pain & disappointment in her voice ~ a tone that I almost never hear from her anymore. Then I started thinking about all of E’s injuries over her short dance career – some say too many that she should think about stopping, but I see the joy, structure and drive that ballet gives her. I’ve even had other moms ask me if E is going to continue with ballet after the number of injuries she has had? Or if ballet is too much for her body? So I asked E these same questions and here’s her response:
I’ve had a lot of injuries for a dancer my age [almost 16] – several ankle sprains, should strains, last year’s serious back sprain, forever tendonitis in the knees, horribly constant painful bunions, muscles always sore – I think that’s the list. But I can’t see myself not dancing – it’s a part of me, just like talking & walking – it’s my way of expressing my feelings and working tough things out in my life. When I’m down, I dance to refocus myself. When I’m up, I feel like I can dance all day. When I’m tired, I don’t want to go to class, but afterwards, I so glad I did – I might have missed something that I accomplished that day. Friends ask me why I dance when it seems like I get injured a lot. I ask them, can you imagine yourself not breathing today? That’s what ballet means to me right now. I don’t know if I will always feel this way after high school, but for now, ballet is my thing – my sport. I can’t see myself doing anything else outside of school and church. So the long answer is YES, I am going to continue dancing, and NO, ballet isn’t too much for my body.